The most eye-catching and surprising auction sales for 2019

05 March 2020 - 14:35 By IAVAN PIJOOS
Artist Jeff Koons poses next to his piece called 'Rabbit'.
Artist Jeff Koons poses next to his piece called 'Rabbit'.
Image: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

From stainless steel rabbits, to sneakers, watches and whiskys, these are some of the most eye-catching and surprising auction sales of 2019 released in the latest wealth report from consultancy Knight Frank.

Highest on the list was the 1986 stainless steel rabbit sculpture by Jeff Koons which broke the auction record for any work by a living artist when it was sold by Christie’s New York for just over US$91m in May last year.

A new world record for a bottle of whisky was set in October last year when Sotheby’s sold a bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 for £1.5m in London.

Bonhams set a record for a Hanyu Ichiru Malt Full Card Series when it sold a collection for HK$7.2m at its Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky sale in August.

A new world record for sneakers was set when a 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” was bought by collector Miles Nadal for US$437,500 at Sotheby’s and Stadium Goods in New York in July.

A matte white Hermès Himalaya Birkin Niloticus Crocodile 30 with 18 carat white gold and diamond hardware was auctioned by Christie’s for HK$2m.

Other sales include:

  • The Birds of America, from original drawings by John James Audubon, published in 1827-1838 — sold by Sotheby’s in December for US$6.4m.
  • A 1994 McLaren F1 LM spec supercar set a record for the model when it was auctioned by RM Sotheby’s at the Monterey sales in August 2019 for $19.8m.
  • Constant Change by Tony Cragg set an artist record when it sold for just shy of £850,000 at Bonhams' Post-War and Contemporary sale in October.
  • A Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime became the most expensive watch to sell at an auction when it achieved SFr31m at Christie's Geneva in November.
  • A 12-bottle case of 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti fetched HK$2.7m at Sotheby’s Tran-scend-ent sale in March.
  • A 1927 sapphire and diamond bracelet by Cartier was sold by Sotheby’s Geneva in November for SFr6.1m — one of the highest prices ever paid for a bracelet at an auction.
  • “The Black Strat” Fender Stratocaster played by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on the iconic Dark Side of the Moon album was sold at Christie's for almost US$4m.